Broadband News

Sky issues results for quarter ending 30th September 2017

Another quarter has raced by and now a week or two has pased it is time for the rush of the financial results from the main broadband providers. Sky is the first out of the starting blocks that we have spotted but in terms of information on how the second largest retail broadband provider in the UK is performing there is almost no information and zero mentions of fibre, be that partial or full fibre.

The quarterly results used to be very useful at tracking the relative size of the various providers, but in the latest Sky trading statement all we are told is they added 160,000 customers in July/August and September with is their Q1/2017 period, unfortunately as Sky has such a broad product portfolio we do not know the split between satellite TV, broadband, NOW TV and phone products for these new customers.

We achieved strong profit growth in the UK & Ireland, continuing the momentum from the fourth quarter of the last financial year. We grew revenues by 4% and EBITDA was up 11% to £452 million. Established Business EBITDA was up 15% to £476 million, reflecting strong customer and product growth, a change in retail prices in fixed line telephony and broadband, strong growth in our pay-as-you-go revenues and a good performance from our advertising business against the backdrop of a difficult market which we estimate was down around 2%. This quarter we focused on accelerating Sky Mobile customer additions with growth of 108,000, which is 46% faster than in Q4. We took a major step forward on customer loyalty with the launch of our VIP programme which already has over 1 million customers enjoying a range of benefits and we equalised pricing for new and existing customers.

Broadband in the Sky Q1 results
Sky Q3/2017 Download Speed Profile for Grade A/B tests
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Profile showing spread of download speeds from Sky Broadband customers in Q3/2017 (Q1/2017 Sky Financial quarter)
Sky Q3/2017 Download Speed Profile for Grade A/B tests
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Profile showing spread of upload speeds from Sky Broadband customers in Q3/2017

Into this information gap we can share some of the analysis we have from speed test data in the third calendar quarter, and this is that we saw 44.8% of people testing their Sky connections using a FTTC/VDSL2 solution and the product split between the up to 38 Mbps and up to 76 Mbps versions is 88% and 12% respectively.

The two charts above are assembled from only plotting speed tests where a test scored a Grade A or B result for the quality metric, the effect of this is to remove those who are testing over Wi-Fi and the variability of Wi-Fi connectivity is having an impact, additionally for those who are having connection problems it should remove the tests with issues and leave hopefully the good result they got once the fault was fixed plus those whose test is interrupted by someone else in the house downloading or uploading something. The impact of this clean measure is apparent when you compare the median download speed for Q3/2017 across the whole Sky base was 11.3 Mbps, but with the grade filtering this rose to 13.8 Mbps (mean changed from 14.8 Mbps to 17 Mbps).

The Sky 55 Mbps guarantee on the up to 76 Mbps product that has been heavily advertised with the option of downgrading to a service based around the Openreach 55/10 service has had no impact in the quarter looking at our speed tesst data but its something to keep an eye out for in subsequent quarters.

Comments

There was a business analyst on the Today programme this morning complaining that Sky kept changing the basis of their customer stats which made period to period comparisons very difficult to make. That's not just on BB but across their whole range of products. He stated that Sky were now attracting a lot of ill-feeling from the investment community on what looks like a deliberate attempt of obfuscate business performance.

Not that Sky are alone in this of course, but companies which are doing well in a market area tend to want to highlight the relevant stats.

  • TheEulerID
  • 12 days ago

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